Sportsman’s Pride dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Sportsman’s Pride product line includes six dry dog foods.
However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the company’s website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Sportsman’s Pride Premium Adult
- Sportsman’s Pride Premium Puppy
- Sportsman’s Pride Maintenance Adult
- Sportsman’s Pride Large Breed Puppy
- Sportsman’s Pride Lamb Meal and Rice
- Sportsman’s Pride Professional Formula
Sportsman’s Pride Premium Adult Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Sportsman's Pride Premium Adult Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, corn meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), ground wheat, rice, dried beet pulp (sugar removed), corn gluten meal, natural flavors, flaxseed, dried egg product, brewers dried yeast, salt, potassium chloride, lecithin, canola oil, rosemary extract, vitamins: choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement minerals: kelp polysaccharide complexes of zinc, iron, manganese and copper, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||21%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||41%||35%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered “unfit for human consumption”.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.
The second ingredient is cornmeal, a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The third ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The fourth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The fifth ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The sixth item is dried beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The seventh ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
After the natural flavors, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
The ninth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, we find brewers dried yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, this dog food includes canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its raw material source.
Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.1
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
Then, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Sportsman’s Pride Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Sportsman’s Pride appears to be a below-average dry dog food.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Sportsman’s Pride is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
10/10/2010 Original review
07/15/2012 Last Update